Interview With Adarius Parrish of Bethune Cookman University Marching Band

Adrius what year were you born?

I was born in 1992

What School did you attend and what year did you graduate?

 I attended Homestead Senior High and I graduated in 2010

Do you have any sibling?

I have two siblings one older sister and one olderer brother.

What was it like growing up in Homestead Florida

It was pretty good, Homestead is a pretty small town, so everyone that you encounter becomes like your family. It’s a close nit community, it’s pretty tight.

How did you become interested in music

That’s a funny question because, I  became interested in it after I saw the movie Drum Line. I saw the Actor Nick Canon in Drum Line, he was doing something that looked complicated and I was interested in it.  I like stuff like that. It looked to be a little challenging.  I was in middle school at the time. I wanted to do something,  I was playing basketball in middle school at the same time. I decided to pick up some sticks and learn how to play an instrument. It started in Middle School and I started off playing base drum. When I got to high school, I continued with it. I dropped basketball, I decided that band was something that I wanted to pursue .  I kind of got more into it as the years went by. I kind of figured out that being in band would get me into college much  easier than basketball. In basketball, there are a lot of athletes competing and far less scholarships available. In band that’s different. Once I learned that I could get a scholarship for band  and go to college for free, it was an easy choice.  

That was a smart choice, basketball has about twenty players to a team which means more competition and less college scholarships available. On the other hand, band has Three Hundred Hundred members which increases the likelihood of receiving a college scholarship. That was a great strategy to be so young.      

What instrument do you play and do you play more than one musical instrument?

I am a percussionist, I also play a little bit of drums.   

Why did you chose BCU for college?

It wasn’t too far from home and it wasn’t too close to home. I sort of felt comfortable going to Daytona Beach. Another reason why I chose BCU, when I was about 5 years old every year my family and I would visit the Florida  Football Classic between FAMU/BCU. I fell in love with the two schools.  FAMU was originally my favorite band at the time.  After I got into band and learned the ins and outs I leaned more towards BCU which was more of my style and I felt comfortable with it.                                .

What was the difference between FAMU Band/BCU Band

Before I knew anything about band and going to the Florida Classic, I noticed that both bands have a high energy level. FAMU is more out of the box to get the fans hyped and BCU were more precise driven, straight forward in their music. BCU had a better type and quality of music. It just took my heart.

What year are you in and what is your College Major?

I am in my second year and I am a Computer Engineer Major and I am thinking about Minoring in Computer Science, possibly Mathematics.

You have to be good in math?

Yes, you have to love it and I do.  

Did you receive a scholarship to attend BCU?

Yes, I received a $ 36,000 Music Scholarship from BCU. The scholarship is divided over four years which amounts to $ 9,000 per year.

What are the requirements for becoming a band member?

That’s a good question, a lot of people look at Band  and think that we only play instruments that is not the casse. However, there is more to it. The requirements to become a band member, you have to be physically in shape. You just can’t get up off of the sofa and say that I want to be a Marching Wild Cat. Most of the band members have been in band since middle school and  others from high school. So it’s something that we have been doing for a few years.

As I said, you have to be in shape. It’s very demanding on the body. Sometimes we practice 5-6 hours a day. Sometimes we practice on Sunday which is our day off. This is done if we really need the extra practice.

The other requirement, you must know how to read music and you must have a good ear for music as well.

You guys must have a great memory. I see band members on the field playing without music and doing difficult movements while playing.

Yes, you have to memorize the music very well.  One thing for sure, you can’t go out on the field to perform with music in your hand. We learn a lot of music and you have to contain it.

How is it that you guys are able to do all the movements and play music at the same time.

To be honest, it’s through repetition. Once we learn it, we go through it over and over again. It becomes boring. But when we go on the field to perform, it becomes natural. It’s like waking up in the morning and brushing your teeth.

Do you have any high school friends that attend BCU with you?

Yes, I have a couple of friends that are BCU band members. We were in high school band together. There is about four of us. Once we saw BCU, we fell in love with the school and decided to attend BCU together.

What was it like being away from home the first year?

That was quite an experience, being away from home for the first time. You learn a lot about yourself. It’s something that you are not use to.  For the first couple of months, I was happy. Then after a while, I started to feel home sick . I began to miss home and those home cooked meals. I missed sleeping in my own bed and seeing my high school friends. So, you kind of want to get away from campus since you are there 24/7.

What does it takes to be a great band member?

To be a great band member you have to be in great shape. You must have the heart for it and it has to be something that you love. You can’t just do it, if you don’t  love it.

Some people say, when you choose your college major, don’t choose it because you can make a lot of money from it. You should choose it because it’s something that you love to do.

You guys have a lot of fast movements in your performances, what type of conditioning do you guys do to keep in shape?

One of the basic conditioning routine  is marching, just plain old marching. We march a couple of times up and down the field from end zone to end zone to get into shape. This is done so that during the performance your knees are always up in a perfect 90 degree angle and so that we always look sharp. That is one of our basic routines. Sometimes, we will run laps. Most of the conditioning comes from marching and dancing. So, we must also learn how to control our breathing as well as develop our leg and arm strength.

You guys are athletes, your not only band members, conditioning is a part of being an athlete. Otherwise, you would have members passing out during those demanding performances.

Yes, we are athletes, one week before the school semester starts, we would have Band Camp which includes 3 times a day of  marching practice. We march thousands of yards and that is just to get us in mental and physical shape for the upcoming season. You know,  students comeback to school from their summer break out of shape. Most of them had been laying around on the sofa playing video games and eating junk food.  So, we have to get back into shape. Because, the shows are physically demanding. If you are tired, it shows and you can hear it in your music.  So, that is why we spend  a good time of our practice in the sun.

BCU Band does a lot of other functions throughout the week, how do you mange to stay on  top of your class work?

That’s a good question, we practice in the afternoon, if you have morning classes you get up to go to class. If you have a 2 hour -3 hour break between classes and practice, you eat lunch and get a little rest. Within this break, you must take the advantage of every little break that you get. So, between classes you have to knock out your assignments. When we go on our road trips, most of the band members take  their home work with them and complete it on the bus as we traevl.  Sometimes we are travel in the bus  8 to 14 hours. So, that is pretty much how we do it.

What was it like competing against FAMU in the Florida Football Classic, which is also known as the Battle of the Bands.

The Florida Classic, that is pretty much the only show that we look forward to besides our Home Coming. The crowed is something that we are not use to throughout our normal  season. FAMU is like our biggest rival. So, there is that tension in the air. It’s not a negative tension, it’s a rival. The energy, okay this is our biggest game of the year and this is what we want to do. We came here to show out, put on and do our best. The shows that lead up to the Florida Classic is like an experiment. It’s to see what we will do to for the Florida Classic.  You know we are going to have good shows regardless whenever we do a performance but the Florida Classic, that is the part of the goal. We want to win the  show, so that  we can have the bragging rights the following year.

Who won the bragging right this year?

I would say that we won the bragging rights this year. Regardless both bands performed well. They always come out with amazing show and so do we. It’s always fun you can feel the friendly competition. It’s nothing negative about it that’s the one show that everybody wants to perform at. We know that we are both the top bands in the MEAC. We want to go out there and put on a great performance for our fans.   

On a sad note, during the Classic Weekend Celebration there was a Hazing incident in which resulted in a FAMU Drum Major died. What is your view on hazing and how should it be handled.

My view on hazing, I don’t see why it exist. Hazing is unnecessary , it makes no sense. Why should you have to physically  beat on someone to become a part of an organization. That’s like me having a little brother being born into the family and I have to beat on him just so that he can become a part of the family. I don’t want to do that. I want to teach him the ends and outs of being a part of the family and what it’s about. I want to teach him to be  strong and teach him positive things.  I don’t want to beat him and then say that you are my brother. Hazing, it just doesn’t make any sense. I don’t believe in beating anyone to become a part of something.  For a good cause, you shouldn’t have to be tortured to become a part of an organization.

I’ve been told that you and a couple of your friends have a music group, tell me a little bit about this group.

I have two friends, one plays lead guitar and the other one plays base guitar. I play the  drum set. It’s a small group, we are trying to develop ourselves together and individually, as well as on our own instruments. We like to play some old school music like Cool and the Gang.  Just some Old School Funky Style Music. We try to be a little different from others in our generation. You know, everybody wants to be a rapper and stuff like that but we want to bring back the old ways, the Classic Funk, the Old School.  So, that’s what we are trying to do.

After graduating from BCU what are some of your goals that you would like to achieve?

I would like to be independent. I would like to be on my own. I want to start my career and get a nice house and just enjoy life. I don’t think that my College career will end after graduating from BCU. I intend to obtain a couple of more degrees. Over all, I just want to be successful.

Adarius, this concludes our interview, Sports Elite Magazine wishes you only  success in your music and academic journey. Keep up the positive work and continue to inspire those who look up to you. I look forward to seeing you in the 2012 Florida Classic.  Have a Great New Year.

WCT 79


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